As the weeks until my inevitable layoff dwindle I’ve begun hard core preparations for my soon-to-be life without a job. I’m a planner by nature so it certainly helped for me to put a plan in place and start checking off the list of things to do.
First, I logged on to all of our bank accounts to see how our finances stack up. While I took a look at our overall retirement accounts, my main focus was on our checking and brokerage accounts. My husband keeps amazing track of our finances, so I also looked through the history of our bills to determine what big expenses might pop up in the next six to nine months. This included items like insurance, (our mortgage and auto insurance is always due in August), as well as property taxes on our homes in Maryland and North Carolina. I subtracted these expenses from our current totals to get a ball park idea of our liquid bottom line. Through gnucash, (our financial tracking tool), I was also able to forward project my remaining wages and estimate monthly bills like utilities and credit cards. This gave me a pretty clear picture of what number we’ll be staring at when the big day finally arrives.
Next, I reviewed the HR policies associated with leaving my company and realized that I would be paid for any unused vacation accrued throughout the year. I originally planned to take two weeks off this summer, but after reviewing the policy in detail I decided it’s more prudent to take less time off this year. After all, I’m about to receive a large chunk of time off in the form of unemployment. So rather than spending a week doing nothing, I’ll work that week and bring home an extra week’s worth of wages in my final paycheck.
Since the baby is due to arrive around the time my job ends I figured it would also be a good time to stock up on good bargains. Each Sunday for the past three weeks I shopped for deals at CVS and Rite Aid. Our minuscule hall closet now has enough razors, shaving cream, shampoo and other personal hygiene products to last us throughout the summer and the first few months of after the little one’s arrival. Since we own two homes, some of these products will make their way to the beach, so we have stock on hand there too.
My husband owns a small business, so I also picked up a few bargains at Staples the past two weekends. We now have a small stack of printer paper and various items I received free after rebate like highlighters, envelopes and pens. The goal with these purchases was as much about saving money as it was preparing to have items on hand so we aren’t forced with rushing out to the store with a little one in tow.
My husband also suggested stocking up the pantry when items go on sale. I’m all about being prepared, so for the first time in my life I might actually try to come up with a meal plan that will help us decide which meals to prepare. If anyone has ideas on the best way to create a meal plan please let me know. I have a feeling those first few weeks after birth will be a bit chaotic and I’d prefer to cook at home and avoid the dreaded take-out routine as much as possible.
Lastly, as I mentioned before, I called a bunch of companies that we subscribe to and asked for discounted rates. I also scrounged up some money by returning a bunch of unused items and selling a few other things on eBay.
Overall I’m feeling unbelievably good about the state of our financial affairs and the preparations for my first few months after unemployment. It’s pretty crazy to think that three months from now I’ll be without work for the first time in 20 years and having a baby. Completing all of the steps above has certainly made me feel more confident about our future!